Restoring Freda’s Deck, Cabin, and Transom

It was in late 1996 and early 1997 that the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding first considered taking on the restoration of Freda, the West Coast's oldest working yacht.  Our approach was to remove a few planks midway down on the starboard side of the boat to examine the condition of Freda's frames.  Freda's interior ceiling (the layer more>>

Freda Lines Project

The photographs below depict the process of capturing the shape of Freda's hull.  This is known as "picking  up the lines,"  meaning the design lines needed for lofting a vessel (drawing it full size) and for making an accurate set of plans that would preserve Freda's hull shape for posterity.  The Arques School instructor and students worked imore>>

Building a Replica of Syd Foster’s Sloop Dolphin

March 15, 2022 We have now started planking the Dolphin. The lumber used is coast fir that we chainsaw milled at Camp Meeker and had resawn for air drying a few years ago.   February 14, 2022 After a delay in procuring more bending oak, we just finished framing the Dolphin and we are shortly going to start planking the boat. more>>

Loon, A Fast Wooden Day-Sailor

Loon is a 20ft long one-ton design, a luxurious traditional wooden day-sailor intended for speed.  She will be rigged as a modern marconi sloop and fitted with a retractable bulb keel.  Loon was designed by Robert Darr in the Arques School's Boat Design Class.  more>>


        Freda is the oldest sailboat on the West Coast. She was built in 1885 in Belvedere for local racing and yachting. Freda was completely restored by the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding in Sausalito.  The School cut sawn frames from curved Black Locust trees.  The stem and sternpost are Pepperwoomore>>

Harbor Tug

August 2000 Stem for the Tug Boat... made from Pepperwood The "Don Arques" tug boat is the first motor-powered boat built at the Arques School. This vessel was designed around a large three-cylinder Hicks engine, one of Don Arques's favorite possessions. The tug boat was designed by Bob Darr with the Traditional Boat Design Class. Local tumore>>

Black Cat – The Richardson Bay Catboat

Black Cat was designed by Robert Darr in the Arques School's Design Program for use in sheltered waters. It is a fifteen foot long open catboat built with lapstrake planking, copper fastened. The boat was designed to be fast, maneuverable, and beautiful. This is the first Black Cat. The raked, curved transom is made of local pepperwood, white oamore>>


Eleanor is a 21 foot long keel sloop designed by Robert Darr in the school's Traditional Boat Design Class. She is a stout double-ender suitable for day sailing around San Francisco Bay, or for ocean sailing. Eleanor is 3' deep with 6'8" of beam. She'll be rigged as a marconi sloop. Her contruction is plank on sawn and bent frames. The sawn frames,more>>